Gay Marriage | New Mexico | News

Clerk in Doña Ana County, New Mexico Begins Issuing Marriage Licenses to Gay Couples


County Clerk Lynn Ellins (pictured below) began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples this morning at 8 am, Progress New Mexico reports. Doña Ana County borders El Paso.

EllinsSame-sex couples in Dona Ana County New Mexico began receiving marriage licenses this morning from the county clerk who announced he was issuing them based on a widely discussed legal opinion, endorsed by the attorney general last month, that the state’s equal protection laws required the state to provide the same benefits of marriage extended to other couples.

“We couldn’t be happier for the couples in Dona Ana County – and those across the state who will soon, no doubt, make their way there – who have waited far too long for public sentiment and political courage to evolve far enough to publicly acknowledge their relationships as being just as equal as that of their neighbors,” says Patrick Davis, Executive Director of ProgressNow New Mexico, a progressive advocacy group working to advance marriage equality in the state.

Progress New Mexico also published the photo you see at top, but its subjects were not identified.

The Las Cruces Sun-News adds that Ellins has been considering issuing licenses since last June when the AG issued a paper noting that the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional:

Last week, Ellins said, the New Mexico Supreme Court declined to issue a ruling sought by attorneys for same-gender couples seeking marriage licenses from the county clerks in Bernalillo and Santa Fe counties. Instead, the Supreme Court sent these matters back to the lower courts for an initial review on the merits.

"That means it could be many months or years before the matter is resolved," Ellins said. "In the meantime, I am mindful that I took an oath of office to uphold the Constitution of the State of New Mexico as Doña Ana County Clerk. I am an attorney, and I have read the AG's opinion, and I find it to be sound. After careful review of New Mexico's laws it is clear that the state's marriage statutes are gender neutral and do not expressly prohibit Doña Ana County from issuing marriage licenses to same-gender couples. Any further denial of marriage licenses to these couples violates the United States and New Mexico Constitution and the New Mexico Human Rights Act. Doña Ana County is upholding New Mexico law by issuing these marriage licenses, and I see no reason to make committed couples in Doña Ana County wait another minute to marry."

In related news, the New Mexico Supreme Court has been asked to streamline lawsuits related to marriage equality in the state, the AP reports:

A same-sex couple from Santa Fe wants the New Mexico Supreme Court to streamline the handling of lawsuits seeking to legalize gay marriage in the state. The couple's lawyer, Rep. Brian Egolf, said Tuesday the justices are being asked to consolidate all cases involving the gay marriage issue and assign them to a district court judge in Santa Fe. The goal is to get a quick lower court decision and clear the way for an expedited ruling by the state's highest court.


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  1. as well she should, as there is no restriction in place at this time in new mexico!

    Posted by: bandanajack | Aug 21, 2013 11:36:59 AM

  2. he that is...

    Posted by: bandanajack | Aug 21, 2013 11:38:01 AM

  3. The marriage bandwagon picks up speed.

    Posted by: Howard | Aug 21, 2013 12:11:00 PM

  4. Good for him! I wish all public office holders would use the same scrutiny of the actual laws and constitution to make decisions.

    Thank you, Lynn Ellins! You are a true gentleman!

    Posted by: johnny | Aug 21, 2013 12:21:32 PM

  5. It should be noted that the county is quite large with two population centers: Las Cruces, the state's second largest city, is near the center, while the southern part is suburban El Paso.

    Posted by: Norman | Aug 21, 2013 12:50:00 PM

  6. The way I see this is, even if this county and Montgomery County in Pennsylvania are requested to stop issuing marriage licences, it's great to see county clerks, legislators, attorney generals on our side taking a stand for equality. That means a lot and is a very powerful statement.

    Posted by: Francis #1 | Aug 21, 2013 1:13:34 PM

  7. we got some cool folks in Las Cruces! woohoo!

    Posted by: Sean | Aug 21, 2013 5:21:04 PM

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